Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud has confirmed he will try to unseat Barnaby Joyce as leader when the party meets in Canberra on Monday.
- David Littleproud hopes to unseat Barnaby Joyce as leader of the Nationals
- The party will decide its direction at a meeting on Monday.
- Mr. Littleproud and Mr. Joyce have strong support in the party room.
Littleproud, who was agriculture minister in the coalition government and is a member of Maranoa in Queensland, said in a statement: “I informed Barnaby Joyce this afternoon of my intention to nominate myself for the role of leader of The Nationals.
“I also took the opportunity to thank him for all his service to our party.
“Ultimately, this is a decision about who will run the Nationals in the 2025 election. Therefore, out of respect for my colleagues, I will not make any further public statements until after Monday’s meeting.”
The challenge follows Gippsland MP Darren Chester’s announcement that he would also challenge Joyce, arguing that his colleagues’ “extreme” comments on climate change and the Coalition’s net zero emissions policy had contributed to the loss of the once-safe liberal seats in the cities.
But Chester has downplayed his chances of winning the leadership ticket.
Former Nationals leader Michael McCormack, who was ousted by Joyce last year, had also been considering raising his hand.
ABC has spoken to nine nationals who privately said they would vote for Littleproud in a leadership vote, while others remain undecided or will support Joyce.
While cities voted for the change in federal elections, rural and regional areas did not.
The Nationals held all 16 seats in the lower house, but there were swings against them in most areas, even though the party has billions of dollars worth of regional infrastructure announcements.
Post-election, the Nationals have shown that they are again divided on climate change and net zero, with some arguing that a new leader is required to unite the opposition party.
Since 2017, Joyce has resigned as leader twice, once for dual nationality and the second time over an allegation of sexual harassment.
He unsuccessfully challenged his successor, Mr McCormack, in 2020, but ultimately removed him last year when the Coalition got caught up in protracted negotiations over its net-zero emissions target.
Littleproud has been one of the party’s strongest advocates for action on climate change and established a biodiversity stewardship program while in government.